Posts tagged ‘Unitarian Universalist’

September 5, 2010

Rituals and Scrapbooking… Who Knew?

“Gather in peace, gather in thanks, gather in sympathy now and then.”

These words come from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal and were so appropriate as we came together as a community after taking our regular summer hiatus. We celebrated our first meeting of the new church year with our annual “Water Communion”. Many congregants brought water from places they visited this summer and thankfully, for those who forgot, there was some kitchen tap water provided for “representing” the water they might have brought (if they had remembered). Each person poured their water into a communal bowl.

I grew up Catholic and I love ritual. I believe these are connected, but they may just be random facts.

While ‘Water Communion” only happens once a year, there are other rituals we have which happen every time we meet.  We always share our “joys and concerns”,  lighting candles to mark each one. At the end of the sharing, there is a bowl on the altar filled with lit candles carrying our happiness, hopes, dreams and sorrows.

Today, as I sat participating in both of these rituals [by watching] I wondered why don’t I ever participate by sharing? Fear? Maybe, I’m not sure. But I do know that I love rituals.

I like yearly rituals, daily rituals, all kinds of rituals. [My morning coffee. My family’s way of saying grace. Getting a Christmas Tree. Walking my dogs each morning along the same route.]

When we fully participate (even if we ARE just “watching”) in ritual, we connect to the past, live in the present and in some way reach out to the future.

Now here is the leap, a ritual is kind of like scrapbooking, and by that, really I mean, ritual is a kind of  memory keeping. As we repeat the act, we live in the other times we’ve been a part of the ritual, who we were, where we were as humans.

When we tell our stories in photo albums, we get to live the memory again, in the light of where we are today. Sometimes it’s nice to tell the story right away, but sometimes, it is even better to have some distance, to tell the story years later. Our perspective has changed, we may be kinder to ourselves and maybe to others.

What rituals do you love? What life story to you want to relive in a photo album?

I hope you are gathering in peace, thanks and sympathy (only now and then.)